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Who are the most effective forward in the Scottish Premiership – Celtic’s Edouard and Christie, Rangers duo Morelos and Defoe or Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove?

The Scottish Premiership returns this weekend with Jermain Defoe looking to become the first player to reach double figures in the league when Rangers travel to Tynecastle Park to face Hearts.

Yet, it wasn’t that long ago when the debate centred around team-mate Alfredo Morelos and Odsonne Edouard. Using stats from the SPFL and Wyscout we look at the numbers behind some of the best, most productive and most efficient forwards in the league, both in terms of in front of goal and assisting team-mates.

Jermain Defoe has bucked a trend somewhat of ageing players with good records and established reputations in England who have arrived in Scotland and flopped.

He had a very respectable record last season at Ibrox having arrived in January and he has improved on that with four more goals already this campaign than he managed in the entirety of last term.

It is hard to see a record of 2.21 goals per 90 minutes continuing but it is some feat. Those behind him, including team-mate Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Christie should be ecstatic with their ratio.

One thing all the league’s top scorers are doing is outperforming their xG (expected goals), albeit some better than others. Morelos is more or less par for the course, whereas Defoe and Christie (xG of 2.55) have really shown their excellence in front of goal.

For some it may be a case of a trend which cannot continue. However, Defoe is an expert marksman, while Christie has benefited from an excellent ability to score long-range goals.

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